Which eBay shop is best for you?

No primary category set

I’ve always believed that an eBay shop was worth more than the ability to use SIF listings, so the announcement that SIFs are to be retired in September is not going to convince me to close my shop.

In view of the fee changes and possible discounts which level eBay shop should you subscribe to? eBay have a microsite which goes into the changes in depth including a cute (and useful) shop fee illustrator.

What this site doesn’t cover is the added benefits of shops over and above pure fee discounts, however as a start point it’s worth looking at when BINs justify a shop on their own merits. The following table shows the level eBay shop you should choose based on the number of fixed price listings you have on the site.

Shop/Cost No Shop Basic Shop Featured Shop Anchor Shop
Shop Cost £0.00 £14.99 £49.99 £349.99
BIN Insertion Fee 40p 20p 5p 1p
Number of BIN listings 0-74 75-226 227-7499 7500+

An anchor shop had no real advantage over a featured shop in the past, so it’s good to see real anchor shop benefits introduced. Anchor shops are still not suitable for most sellers, only those with over 7500 product lines (not listings!) will be able to justify the cost.

Feature Basic Shop Featured Shop Anchor Shop
Cross Promotions
Shop Categories
Listing Frame
Markdown Manager
Holiday Settings
Minimal Page Header
Telephone Support
Sales Reports Plus £3.00
SMP £4.99
Scheduling* 6p/listing
Email Marketing 1000 free 2500 free 5000 free
Custom Shop Pages 5 10 15
Traffic Reports Basic Extended Extended
Shop Promotion Basic Priority Priority

* Free scheduling requires SMP subscription

If you already use SMP and/or wish to make use of scheduling then the benefits of a featured shop really start to stack up. Sellers with a basic shop but subscribed to SMP should upgrade to a featured shop if they have more than 160 BIN listings live on the site at any one time.

Anchor and Featured Shop subscriptions will come with telephone support, a great bonus for non-PowerSellers who would otherwise be reliant on email support.

Which ever level eBay shop you consider remember that your listing strategy is likely to change.

eBay are encouraging sellers to list just one fixed price listing for each product line. In the past you may have listed the same item on a daily or even hourly basis. When choosing your shop subscription from 24th September you should factor in a reduction in your total number of fixed price listings.

It’s worth considering auctions, even if you don’t currently have them in your listing mix. Fixed price listings will no longer be sorted with “Ending Soonest”, but auctions will. The one way to ensure visibility of your items on the first page of search results is to run auction listings.

The mix of auctions and fixed price listings on the first page of search results will vary by category. In collectible categories I’d expect to see more auctions and in commodity categories it’s likely a higher percentage of fixed price listings will be displayed. It will be worth experimenting to see if auctions attract more buyers both to bid and to drive traffic to your fixed price listings.

We are aware that the changes to shops are making it unprofitable for sellers of low cost, low sell through rate, unique items to list their inventory on eBay. Currently there is no easy solution and it’s hoped eBay will address this situation prior to the changes going live on 24th September or hundreds of thousands of products will disappear from the site.

For sellers of higher priced items the reduction in listing fees and change of listing strategy should make it economically viable to list more product lines in greater quantities.

Finally there are still some notable holes in the fee structure to take advantage of:

  • Technology and Media products have lower final value fees
  • Multiple quantity fixed price listings will now have lower insertion fees than Dutch Auctions
  • Listing enhancements will cost up to 3 times as much for 30 day listings – consider shorter fixed price listings if you have limited stock.

36 Responses

  1. Very useful post, Chris.

    I will be sticking with my featured shop, at least for the time being as I should still have a few hundred listings after the changes.

    I thought the same thing about auctions, will have to change some of what I presently have on auction though, as the buy it now options for some of it won’t be available any more!

  2. “Technology and Media products have lower final value fees”

    To be fair, though, us media sellers have been paying higher FVFs for the past 18 months (I didn’t realise it had been quite so long!).

    Interestingly, whilst going back through the Tamebay archives to find out what date this started, I came across this article:


    Could this be the reasoning behind the “no more sub 99p listings”?

  3. thank you Chris this has helped me, I list around 160-180 items at the mo, so I am right on the cusp with regard to upgrading from basic. It’s going to cost me more money any way whether I stay at basic or go up to featured so your tick box up there has helped me focus on what I would actually gain instead of just looking at the money going out.

  4. For me, selling media, it may be SIF as normal!
    This may be cassettes on eBay.com at 3 cents and CDs on eBay.fr at 1 euro cent, where there are category matches with eBay.co.uk. Will have to test how the visibility is on 24th September before deciding.

  5. As a seller of low cost, low sell through rate, unique items, I hope eBay addresses the situation PDQ as I’m about to recycle the funds recovered from my now closed eBay shop into an independent web site and an eBid life membership.

  6. A very usefull post, thank you.

    I sell collectables and remain in a quandry.

    For me it’s auction only at present, a few hundred one of a kind items every week, multiple id’s, about 50% sell through/week, multiple bids, most customers buy multiple items and quite a few repeat regularly, a significant percentage (majority) go overseas. Very very hard work but works well most of the time.

    Having experimented with BIN to see sell through rates, my uncertainties are in the area of visibility of the new shop/bin items and of how ‘one of a kind’ items will fare in the BIN best match ranking. I also need to see what mix of BIN vs Auction will appear in my category in Q4. The absence of international visibility on BIN is a concern.

    As things stand a Basic shop makes no sense to me. Featured certainly could but for the issues mentioned above.

    I’m going to sit it out until a fuller picture emerges, the devil is always in the detail with ebay change.

  7. Thanks for the post Chris. I was just about to email Sue and ask her to explain everything in simple terms, you just did that.

    Funny how times change, I always used to log into eBay first in the morning, now I click on my website checkout,email,tamebay,amazon then ebay…….

  8. Great post Chrisy Boy – cuts though the carp!

    For me, with around 400 – 600 product lines, it looks like sticking to my featured shop with a number of auctions (with BIN) to keep my .COM buyers.

    Since the ability to pay a small fee for .COM visibility has been a reality I have seen a huge increase in sales over the pond.

    I am hoping that eBay will allow BIN’s to show on .com in the near future but I can’t see any mention of this. Does anyone think it will happen?

  9. #10
    Only time will tell! Reading between the lines (only an n away from another), the new BIN is starting to look like SIF but with enhanced (sales history related) visiblity.
    If the UK model is ‘successful’ it may also become a .com feature at which time mutual visibilty might become offered.
    Probably not though, the new ‘total inventory’ mantra is strictly for home market sales and we are really talking big commodity products, not one-offs.

  10. Chris

    Your exposition is very useful from a standing start. The ‘cute’, your word not mine, illustrator does not mention the possible huge fee increases for some users.

    But please bear a thought for EXISTING Basic Shop owners who have hitherto enjoyed success with SIF, with or without gallery.

    A Basis Shop owner could have listed say 500 products up to £4.99 (combined value) in SIF for 90 days at 9p without gallery 12p with gallery.

    The new BIN price is 15p albeit with gallery, but still needs the upgrade to Featured Shop. Now that is a huge percentage increase!

    Total cost was £51 or £66. Price now £125 (ok SMP is included). Hideous, and extra FVF on top. And that was just a listing number out of the air, the seller with 227 listings will face a higher percentage rise, there is no breakeven point in featured for one-off sellers of lower priced stuff.

    Yes I know about vis in ‘core’, but one-offs are just that and with everthing to be in ‘core’ I am to be convinced of the advantage. Argue please!

    There can only be winners with higher ticket one offs or high volume inventory (commodity products).

    The seller of smaller items is potentially ‘dead in the water’. No mistake, the new structure is designed only for sellers of higher ticket items and/or with bottomless inventory!

    I am myself very borderline with around 1500-2000 SIF, some under £4.99 some higher, some one-offs, some repeatable. Will not be able to list total inventory as some items are <99p. Will need alternative outlet for the first time.

    Lots and lots of upset (smaller) sellers are out there just now, this change will be a watershed. I have no idea why eBay have chosen to do this, every extra listing at the margin would have been almost total profit. Those that remain, please look forward to ever increasing FVF.

    Please, please pick holes in my prognosis!

    I wish everyone bon voyage – make sure that you run a very tight ship.

  11. “An anchor shop had no real advantage over a featured shop in the past, so it’s good to see real anchor shop benefits introduced.”

    Completely, unambiguously false statement. Prior to the recent reduction in features of the Anchor Store, the Anchor promised greater visibility, more inclusion in Shop eBay Stores, adwords credit, and a guarantee of one million impressions per month.

  12. I presume the Markdown Manager is now redundant, in that in the UK you could only use it if an item had been listed for more than 30 days

  13. @Dave, Markdown Manager is – according to an eBay employee at Insite anyway – still going to be available for the auto-relisting 30 day BINs.

  14. Sue
    It didnt work on my auto-relisting 30 day SIFs, well it did for the last two days of the selling period, I queried this and was referred to the condition that to be valid an item had to be “Listed for at least 28 days at a higher price before being put on sale” . I hope it works with the new version of auto-relisting BINs but it should have worked with SIFs and did not, therefore am not building hopes up.

  15. Dave, it works just fine on mine. If you have changed the price during the preceding 28 days, you won’t be able to use MM: that’s the usual reason for failure. Otherwise – well, sometimes things on eBay don’t work, I’m sure that’s not news to you.

  16. #12 John I ran the figures purely from a standing start on the 24th Sept. I wasn’t attempting to justify whether sellers would be better off or worse off then prior, just which would be their best options going forward.

    The higher ticket one off items won’t be nearly as well off as the higher ticket with duplicates. In the new eBay more is definitely less fees and that goes regardless of low or high cost items. The only real losers (as far as fixed price goes) are low cost uniques.

    Surprisingly to a certain extent the FVF varies according to your sell through rate. If you have a high (close to 100%) STR then you’re worse off. If you have a medium (say 40-60% STR) depending on quantity and price you’re likely to be better off. If you have a low (sub 10% STR) you’re in a bad position from listing fees but FVF hardly makes a difference.

    #13 Not in the UK they don’t. All an anchor shop in the UK gets is a 150 pixel .gif and some woolly “may or may not be promoted in related shops and keyword search”

  17. #21 Unlimited buy it now listings for just 1p insertion fees for Anchor shop owners. That’s a pretty big incentive – list an extra 1000 items for a tenner.

  18. What will happen on the 24th of September to my Shop Inventory Items? Will they be automatically changed to BINs or will they be delisted?

  19. If they are delisted I’m going to have to pay a set of increased listing fees, having already paid for them to be lsited originally… 👿

  20. #23 & #24

    If you list a 90 day SIF before the changes it will remain as a 90 day SIF, with FVFs being at the pre 24th Sept prices.

    Timing out just before Xmas.

    There is talk on the Business & eBay shop boards that a lot of sellers will take this route with items that they don’t have many of. So if you had a item with just 3 quanity and it took 70 days to sell them. The fees are likely to be less than 3 x 20p BIN 30GTC plus a higher FVF.

  21. I spoke to Power Seller support this morning and they comfirmed that any listings on a GTC would continue an be relisted in the new format.

    Does anyone know any specifics on non-UK buyers viewing listings? Fro what the guy said to me this morning only people viewing .co.uk would be able to see our listings come Doomsday, sorry Sept 24th… 😆

  22. “We are aware that the changes to shops are making it unprofitable for sellers of low cost, low sell…”

    Yeah tell me about it. As it is, I am paying ebay around £50 a month all in. I have about 1,250 items on-line. FVF fees are not really an issue for me, almost all my eBay expenses are listing fees. It can take me mothns to sell one item, even with some of the most competitive prices in town. It’s not a failing on my part, I have 100% +FB, everything has a photo and item condition, all items over £3 have best offer so I’m flexible on price too. It’s just the nature of collectibles, it can take months to find a buyer for the obscure and rare items I specialise in.

    So let’s do a little maths here. You reckon ‘Featured’ would be the best for my level of stock… OK let’s take that as given. £50 for the shop, 1250 items at 5p each to list = £112.50 per month *just for upfront costs*

    Now on an average profit margin of £70 a month based on 8 months of trade… Need I say more?

    Frankly I think eBay are greedy, moneygrabbing, parasites! It’s game over for me, the shop will close by the 24th, and they will not be getting a penny more out of me. They’ve had about £400 this year, isn’t that enough for them? They are the worst manifestation of corporate greed. Making a steady income isn’t enough for them, they want it hand over fist.

  23. Well looking at these changes we will be amalgamating several ids and going for higher level shops

    Paying £6 a month for an off season shop was worth it to keep the brand but £15 a month is not, and once you get free smp and higher discounts for more than basic shops then the savings can be irrisistable.

    3 basic shops and 3 smps go a long way towards the cost of a featured/anchor shop.

    and I get a spare bogey ID to tinker with 😀

  24. #29

    That’s what I’ve suggested to a client. We worked out some figures using Septembers listings over their 3 basic shops using the new fees and worked out they’d be over £1000 a year better of with one featured shop.

    The whole point of 3 shops to begin with was to seperate different product types/lines, but having more custom pages with the higher level shop subscription will allow me to modify the design of the featured shop to the same effect…

  25. Dear Chris, I think the biggest value an ebay store has is its optimization in the search engines. Ebay wants products to have quick turn arounds, to convert fast. But collectors are accustomed to having it sit on the shelves. When you have it sit on the shelves forever, your hyperlink stays in the search engines longer, they get cached. They dont all get that much exposure, but if you have a good product, with relevant titles, you get killer traffic. Moving items to FP Core 30 day, I dont think ebay is going to optimize them the same to the search engines as they exposure store inventory. And it is ebay that controls it, they can control the crawl / revisit rate. Reason why I dont feel they’re expose it the same way is its going to be a spammy nightmare searching for stuff on Google. But I have always felt the store format itself was the best value for store sellers who wanted to maintain their ASP

  26. Question for anyone who might know. If I subscribe to a Featured Shop on 23 September at £30 will I pay pro-rata from the 24th at £49.99 or do I get my month for £30?

  27. #32 it looks like every one is paying pro rata for shops, check you last invoice if you have a shop already

  28. I am wondering if peope who list shop items for 5 , 7 or 10 days get better visibility comparing 30 days listings?

  29. Useful post and discussion. I’m gonna try the basic shop even though I guess I’ll move to featured shop soon. The only trouble is that eBay’s going to disable the visibility of BIN items to overseas people. I’ve been working very well with them and never had a really big problem. International bidders account for some 20% of my sale at the moment. Is there any way to ask eBay to keep the international visibility? Cannot understand why they do that to BIN but not auction listings! :-“


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